The Saint Walstan Legend

Carol Twinch left Bawburgh in 1991, little knowing that her following years would be spent challenging her own words that .. "Walstan's life and times were not well documented".  Looking back, she admits it was more a question of challenging the accuracy of what had been written about Walstan.  As a result, in 1995 her much acclaimed 197-page book "In Search of St Walstan" was published by Media Associates, Norwich, Norfolk. ISBN 0952149915.  (Available for £10 including post and packing, from: GLF Books, PO Box 36, Saxmundham, IP17 2PS, Suffolk).  And after a gap of another 9 years, Carol's second book about Walstan - "Saint with the Silver Shoes" hit the bookshelves (also available from GLF books), or local bookshops.  This adds to the intrigue of this now well-known Saint, but one which Bawburgh proudly calls its own. In 2015 a further book, 'St Walstan the Third Search' was written by Carol, published in time for the celebrations of St Walstan 1000 year's anniversary of his death in 2016 (ISBN 9780952149941, published by Media Associates, distributed by GLF Books, £9.50).

Saint Walstan’s Day, officially, 30th May, is usually celebrated on the Sunday nearest that date. There have been many newcomers to the village, who may not be aware of our own unique Saint and the legend which goes with him. Like all legends, they adjust through the centuries, but this version was published in Carol Twinch's book "Great Suffolk Stories".

 

Canon Richard Capper and Rev. Darleen Plattin take prayers around the Well, 2011.

 

 

 

St. Walstan was of East Anglian royal blood and, notes an ancient document, “derived his parentage of distinguished royal stock, his father being called Benedict, his mother Blida”. He was born in 975 and when he was thirteen renounced this wealth and travelled north where he got a job on a farm not far from Norwich. There he worked hard for only his keep; anything more he gave to the poor and needy he met as he went about his work as a farm labourer. His employers, the farmer Nalga and his wife, worried about his taking no wages and pressed him to accept their gift of two white calves. In his last years Walstan had many visions and finally one that foretold his death. He should instruct Nalga to place his body on a cart, pulled by his two white oxen, which were to be left to go free. Walstan died in 1016 and according to his wishes the oxen were left free to draw the cart unguided. The animals set off and stopped only three times, each time a spring appearing. Finally they came to a stop in the village of Bawburgh where Walstan was buried, and soon afterwards he was declared a saint and patron of farm workers and agriculture.

 

 

 

 

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